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Credit Suisse report finds Australians are now richest people in the world

Australia is the world’s richest country following a surge in property prices with the typical resident now worth more than $400,000, a Swiss bank has declared.

Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report for 2022 revealed Australia is the world’s wealthiest nation based on the median – or middle – wealth of every adult. 

That is based on their net worth, calculated on their financial and real estate assets after their debt has been paid off. 

The typical Australian adult was worth $US273,900 ($A409,075), the bank found – making them richer than the likes of residents in Belgium, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France.

The report noted median wealth – as opposed to average wealth – was higher in countries with less income inequality, and that Australia had particularly benefited from a surge in pandemic relief measures and record-low 0.1 per cent interest rates.

Australia is the world's richest country following a surge in property prices with the typical resident now worth more than $400,000, a Swiss bank has declared. Credit Suisse's annual Global Wealth Report for 2022 revealed Australia is the world's wealthiest nation based on the median - or middle - wealth of every adult (pictured is a woman at Sydney's Bondi Beach)

Australia is the world's richest country following a surge in property prices with the typical resident now worth more than $400,000, a Swiss bank has declared. Credit Suisse's annual Global Wealth Report for 2022 revealed Australia is the world's wealthiest nation based on the median - or middle - wealth of every adult (pictured is a woman at Sydney's Bondi Beach)

Australia is the world’s richest country following a surge in property prices with the typical resident now worth more than $400,000, a Swiss bank has declared. Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report for 2022 revealed Australia is the world’s wealthiest nation based on the median – or middle – wealth of every adult (pictured is a woman at Sydney’s Bondi Beach)

When it came to a different metric – average wealth – Switzerland was No.1 on $US696,000 ($A1.041million) – making it the only nation of millionaires in Australian dollars when the report figures were translated from American greenbacks.

On this measure, Australia ranked fourth with average wealth of $US550,110 ($A822,316) behind the United States on $US579,050 ($A865,768) and Hong Kong on $US552,930 ($A826,969).

‘While Switzerland still ranks highest in terms of wealth per adult, followed by the United States, Hong Kong and Australia, the more relevant median wealth per adult criterion places Australia, Belgium and New Zealand in the top three positions,’ it said.

The Credit Suisse report covered 2021 when Reserve Bank interest rates were still at a record-low of 0.1 per cent and national property prices surged by 22.1 per cent, marking the biggest annual increase since 1989.

Sydney’s median house price last year climbed by 29.4 per cent to $1.375million as Brisbane’s equivalent value soared by 30.4 per cent to $782,967, CoreLogic data showed.

Credit Suisse noted property prices had increased by 31 per cent in Australia, outranking New Zealand’s 25 per cent increase.

‘Housing markets were initially subdued during the peak of the pandemic, but recovered during the second half of 2020 and continued to flourish in 2021,’ it said.

When it came to a different metric - average wealth - Switzerland was No.1 on $US696,000 ($A1.041million) - making it the only nation of millionaires in Australian dollars. On this measure, Australia ranked fourth with average wealth of $US550,110 ($A822,316) behind the United States (New York's Times Square, pictured) on $US579,050 ($A865,768) and Hong Kong on $US552,930 ($A826,969).

When it came to a different metric - average wealth - Switzerland was No.1 on $US696,000 ($A1.041million) - making it the only nation of millionaires in Australian dollars. On this measure, Australia ranked fourth with average wealth of $US550,110 ($A822,316) behind the United States (New York's Times Square, pictured) on $US579,050 ($A865,768) and Hong Kong on $US552,930 ($A826,969).

When it came to a different metric – average wealth – Switzerland was No.1 on $US696,000 ($A1.041million) – making it the only nation of millionaires in Australian dollars. On this measure, Australia ranked fourth with average wealth of $US550,110 ($A822,316) behind the United States (New York’s Times Square, pictured) on $US579,050 ($A865,768) and Hong Kong on $US552,930 ($A826,969).

‘Low interest rates were likely one of the factors responsible for the buoyant housing market. 

‘Unusually, no country recorded a decline in house prices in 2021.’

By comparison, share prices last year rose by 5.9 per cent with the Australian Securities Exchange’s benchmark S&P/ASX200 peaking in August 2021 before retreating.

The report also noted a big rise in disposable after-tax income in Australia, following more than $300billion worth of pandemic welfare spending measures as household savings increased during the lockdowns.

‘As in most other high-income countries we review here, disposable income in Australia rose significantly by 4.8 per cent due to pandemic relief payments,’ it said.

‘The increased saving had a positive effect on financial assets and also led to some repayment of debt.’

Despite coming second in the average wealth stakes, the United States was 18th in the median wealth ranking. This put it behind oil-rich Qatar (sheiks, pictured) in 16th place.

Despite coming second in the average wealth stakes, the United States was 18th in the median wealth ranking. This put it behind oil-rich Qatar (sheiks, pictured) in 16th place.

Despite coming second in the average wealth stakes, the United States was 18th in the median wealth ranking. This put it behind oil-rich Qatar (sheiks, pictured) in 16th place.

Australia’s wealth inequality was low by international standards with the top 1 per cent of adults owning 21.8 per cent of assets.

By comparison, in the U.S., the top 1 per cent has a 35.1 per cent share of wealth.

So despite coming second in the average wealth stakes, the United States was 18th in the median wealth ranking.

This put it behind oil-rich Qatar in 16th place. 

Credit Suisse predicted interest rate rises across the world in 2022 and high inflation, as a result of Russia’s Ukraine invasion, would hamper wealth creation in coming years with public debt, as a proportion of gross domestic product, at the highest level since World War II.

‘Higher inflation is likely to lead to lower real global wealth in 2022 and beyond,’ it said.

The United States added the most household wealth last year, followed by China, Canada, India and Australia.

Credit Suisse’s median wealth table

1. Australia: $US73,900 ($A409,075)

2. Belgium: $US267,890 ($A400,197)

3. New Zealand: $US231,260 ($A345,466)

4. Hong Kong: $US202,380 ($A302,324)

5. Denmark: $US171,170 ($A255,701)

6. Switzerland: $US168,080 ($A251,023)

7. Canada: $US151,250 ($A225,923)

8. Netherlands: $US142,990 ($A213,591)

9. United Kingdom: $US141,550 ($A211,440)

10. France: $US139,170 ($A208,021)

11. Norway: $US132,480 ($A198,021)

12. Japan: $US120,000 ($A179,341)

13. Taiwan: $US113,940 ($A170,239)

14. Italy: $US112,140 ($A167,550)

15. Spain: $US104,160 ($A155,637)

16. Qatar: $US100,010 ($A149,436)

17. Sweden: $US95,050 ($A142,025)

18. United States: $US93,270 ($A139,389)

19. Korea: $US93,140 ($A139,218)

20. Singapore: $US93,130 ($A139,203)

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